Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

September 27, 2011

Fueled by Friends

I just got back from my 6-day vacation to New York City, my first vacation since last Thanksgiving when Wine Guy and I rented a house in Palm Springs with a group of friends for the week. This was back when we were still pretending to be a committed couple even though we both knew the relationship would conclude once my debilitating medical problems were behind me. (We couldn't even wait quite that long. We broke up the week before my surgery.)

New York wasn't my first choice for a relaxing getaway. In fact, the city normally fills me with a regretful nostalgia for the six years I lived there. But I'm not wasting time with regret these days and one of my dearest friends from college is eight months pregnant and really, really wanted me to come to her baby shower. If I couldn't make it, she said, she probably just wouldn't have a shower; she's not the kind of person who loves groups of people celebrating her in public. Of course, this is a woman you want to celebrate. New York it is.

As much as I looked forward to spending time with my friend in the weeks before her life changed forever, I was also excited to see the city with the fresh eyes of a tourist, albeit one who already knows the subway system (and can finally walk up and the down the subway stairs!). Ever the over-planner, I soon devised an overstuffed itinerary including museums, Ground Zero, shopping, dining, you name it.

With the exception of a stop at my alma mater and a trip to the wrong museum, I got to virtually none of it.

I'm not disappointed in how little of the city I got to experience because I came home knowing I got exactly what I needed - a long stretch of time just being with a very good friend; someone I wholeheartedly trust, who understands just about all of my personality flaws because she has them herself, and someone who has nothing else to do but gestate and watch her ankles swell.

It turns out that she needed that time together as much as I did. I can't think of a better way to spend those hard-earned vacation days.

This was also the trip when I finally got to meet fellow dating bloggers Loverville and Mimi (of the now retired Sexagenarian and the City). Don't let anyone ever tell you that friendships formed in the blogosphere can't be truly genuine. I have counted both of these women as friends for several years -- before I ever learned their real names.

Actually, I think it was the anonymity of our blogs that allowed the connection to happen in the first place. With my identity hidden, I can afford to be entirely honest, not just about things that happen (I am) but about what I'm thinking or feeling about it. I don't know about Mimi and LV, but I use this blog as a journal where I work out my thoughts in a constant attempt to find the truth. Often times I stumble upon it about the same time you read it.

I'm also lacking a layer of suspicion while reading other blogs of our ilk (until they give me a reason not to trust them that is). I go into it thinking (hoping) they're as truthful as me. And if they're not, there's really not much at stake is there? There's nothing I respect more in a friendship than a mutual honest exchange about who we are and what we think. (And in case you're wondering, yes, this expectation has led to me being seriously let down by female friends in the past. I endured, ever more cautious.)

Loverville and Mimi, who both live in New York City and have met several times before, did not disappoint. Both open, intelligent women, their energies matched their writing. Over dinner on the Upper West Side, we jumped right in to the kind of conversation you have with your old college friends. No need to fill in our histories -- we'd been sharing our lives with each other (and lots of other people) for years. No discretion required -- we'd been blabbing about our sex lives and heartbreaks in more detail than with our "real" friends.

It felt entirely natural to dive right in to conversation, but I couldn't help but step back every little while to marvel at the fact that I'd only just laid eyes on them for the first time hours earlier. If this blog goes nowhere from here on out, I'll at least be thankful for that.

So, today's lesson is, indulge yourself in these kinds of friendships -- if you're lucky enough to have them.

Back soon with stories about the opposite sex.